It's A Small World

October 3, 2007 -

John Heald

It’s the blog that starts at 5:50 am again and as I sit here squinting at the monitor I wish you a very good morning. So, here we go with debarkation again and it’s dark outside. In a few minutes I will have to make my first announcement for guests to leave the ship and as always I will be very conscious that for many this is a sad day and there are not many smiles around the place. This is why I try and be as soft spoken as I can and also keeping each announcement as short as I can as well. I always finish with the words “have a safe journey home” and as I type this I have no idea why I am telling you…………..but it’s too late now I already did.

Yesterday while docked in Rome I discovered that we will have to tender in Dubrovnik this coming cruise……………….bugger. I was under the impression that we would not have to do this but the Captain informed me that we will indeed have to do for this call only so out come the tender plans again. More about that later in the week.

How did this cruise go? Well, I think it went well. Certainly, there can be no complaints about the weather as we had 12 straight days of sun and temperatures as high as 88 degrees in Athens. It was the perfect week not to be in on our Grand Mediterranean cruise as there has been lots of rain in France and Spain. This cruise however (did I tell you this already?) I have changed the activities a lot. Gone are the pool games and deck contests such as the Hairy Chest, Pool Olympics, Synchronized Swimming, etc. There really was no participation and as much as we tried we have reached that time of year when we have to adapt to the demographics of our guests onboard. These activities have been replaced with the very popular big screen movie trivia, famous places and faces clips, and more live music and video concerts on deck. I will also be starting the “matinee” movies at 2 pm as well which I have recommended to Todd that he keeps in during the TA crossing as they were so popular last time. So, most of the 2,900 guests had a wonderful time even though we had no baseball………………………talking of which.

I want to thank the following people who sent Heidi and I gifts and cards which we received yesterday while docked here in Civi.

RUTH JAMISON – Thank you so very much, the Christmas ornament is beautiful and we will think of you during the holidays. The cookies look amazing and I had one but wasn’t sure if they were sugar-free. Heidi has had 24 of them. Thank you again Ruth and we send a big hug to you.
MICHELLE MANN – My friend in Tyrone Road which is a few minutes from where I live back home. Thank you so very much for the newspapers and I will be sure to pop over for a cup of tea next month. Hope the weather gets better and I will write to you soon.
ROBERT DEMEO……….Thank you so much for the letter and the compliments that went with it mate. I really appreciate you taking the time to write.
KATHY SISKO……….Thank you for my………………..Dallas Mavericks Hat and Mug. I shall add that to my collection and hope the Mavs have a wonderful season right up until the finals when the Heat lift the trophy. Seriously, it was a very kind gesture and I am so very grateful.

Then, just when you think you have seen everything along comes a gift from The Poet Laureate……..Jtoddinman…………look what the poet sent me.

a gift from The Poet Laureate

a gift from The Poet Laureate

What an amazing gift. I have never had a baseball bat before and certainly not one with my name on it. Thank you so much Sir and I hope one day I can repay you and everyone who sends me cards, gifts and messages when you cruise.

I was going to have the bat mounted on the wall at home but I think I will keep it by my bed just in case Fatima, Mrs. Mahjong or any disgruntled guests find out where I live.

Here are today’s photos starting with a few from Heidi’s trip to Pisa and then two of the Lido Deck yesterday featuring Carnival’s Seaside Theatre(sm) and the Bee Gees concert.

1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa…………notice the people taking photos pretending to hold up the tower.

1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa…………notice the people taking photos pretending to hold up the tower.

2. The Tower again

2. The Tower again

3. The Tower and the Cathedral

3. The Tower and the Cathedral

4. Barry Gibb (I Think) on the big screen

4. Barry Gibb (I Think) on the big screen

5. Staying Alive

5. Staying Alive

Just one letter today for the In Their Own Words Section

In Their Own Words

Here is today’s Joke of the Day…………..actually, it is a cartoon that Alan sent me.

Joke of the Day

Alan had his CT scans yesterday and we will know more later today when the operations will begin. He is in good spirits and remains ugly. …………….thanks to everyone again.

OK, off we go with today’s Q and A starting with more from the blog called “Everyone’s a Comedian”. To skip the Q&A, click here.

LISA AND ELAINE – You asked where I will be spending the holidays this year. Well, we will be having a very traditional family Christmas with my Mum and Dad and my Sister and her family who now live in Hong Kong. She is a merchant banker working with Deutsche Bank and her husband Paul looks after the kids Luke who is 6 and Isabelle who is 4. We will all be there for Christmas and then for New Year Heidi and I will join her family. New Years in Holland is amazing as everyone, I mean every family and every household buys fireworks and that means at midnight the sky is full wherever you look of fireworks…….amazing. As for the ship, well I will write more about Christmas onboard nearer the start of Hanukkah and Christmas both of which are indeed celebrated on the vessel. Thanks girls and your hammock is ready and all the best from Heidi and I.
LINDSEY B – I feel better now I know that even English teachers make spelling mistakes. The annoying thing was that the guest never introduced himself or herself to me. Anyway, although this passenger was a little ummmmmmmm, well, abrupt, they have allowed me to discover four spelling mistakes in the Carnival Capers that have been there since March! Thanks for teaching the kids and I know I am repeating myself when I say that we should pay teachers millions of dollars………we really should. Thanks Lindsey and have a great day.
BIG ED – I did mate…..as soon as I saw Rodney Dangerfield’s photo I recognized him, I just didn’t pick up on the name. Actually, the guest who impersonated him looked a lot like him and, during his three-minute show, he had me and the audience laughing. I remember another old school entertainer I used to watch with my Dad called Victor Borge. He used to do this act with a piano that was hilarious. Anyway as far as the Cardinal thing is concerned I think once again we have stepped into the realms of fantasy……………..talking of which it appears yours will be tiger print, mine will be black and Alan’s will be red with little black bows on them…………………..I need help.
LINDA HERNACKI – Hello Linda. I am not sure why this guest decided to read through the Capers looking for spelling mistakes but in a way I am glad he/she did. It is amazing that I Heidi and I and 3,000 guests a cruise read the Capers and only now has someone seen a glaring spelling mistake. You are correct Linda, I really do love Italian food. Not so much the pastas but the meats and cheeses and of course my favorite the tomatoes which I could eat all day………especially with some Mozzarella. The best I ever had was in Capri ……….wow. My apologies for missing out one of your postings with a reply but there were so many (100 plus) for Alan I had to generalize my answers. Anyway, now things have calmed down a bit I have chance to send my best to you and Mike and thank you for your continuing friendship and also wish you a wonderful day.
DAVE SOREFF – Hello mate. Sam did indeed have beautiful red hair and the lounge you are referring to on the Holiday was called The Blue Lagoon. It is now a brilliant interactive lounge and you would not recognize it. I loved Sam’s introduction of you and maybe one day I will get to introduce you again as well. Sam is married now and lives in the U.K.. Have you heard from Doug? Hope all is well over on Princess. I will be cruising on the Emerald in March………I hope you are there. All the best mate.
BIG ED – thongs.

ON THAT NOTE, DEBARK IS OVER. IT IS 9:10AM AND I AM GOING BACK TO BED FOR 1 HOUR………BACK SOON.

Hello again. I set the alarm for 10:30 am but I am embarrassed to say that it is now 11:18 am………..I just couldn’t get out of bed. Heidi has taken her Mum back to the airport. She has had a wonderful time and it was so nice to se them together. Anyway, on we go with the rest of the Q and A…………….first, I need to wake my fingers up so time for a cup of monkey tea.

TERESA AND PAUL B – It is always fun to hear that people get pre cruise excited and I can see that you are certainly no different. I will try and be with you in April and there is certainly a good chance. I will know more soon. Anyway, hopefully the blog will keep you going until you walk up the gangway. My best to you both and thanks for the kind words.
DWA 76 – Hello mate. How are you today. You are indeed correct when you say that I must be looking forward to vacation, it is just 24 days away now and hopefully I have enough fuel in the tank…………..if not, I will be eating more jelly beans. Thanks for the great comments on the latest blog thingy and I am glad you enjoyed the volcano photos. The award that I won will be given to Dad who will place it in the office/shrine and as for Rodney Dangerfield I will definitely be renting some of his movies so I can see him work. Who makes you laugh mate? I also hope to see you soon and wish you a great day and thanks as always for your friendship.
CANUCK CRUISER – It seems like the Dallas Cowboys were a good team to pick now you are winning 4 -0…..which team is that against…………although isn’t 4 – 0 a low score in American football? Also, how does someone from Canada become a Dallas fan? Most importantly I wanted to say thanks for the wonderful kind words and you are right, positive thought is so important so thanks for yours. All the best and please write soon.
JIMNI – Thanks for the support and also for being the first person on this blog thingy to use the word “orifice”……………..very funny.
JTODDINMAN – Thank you first of all for the poem about Viagra which Heidi says is her new favorite. Then I want to thank you for all the Rodney Dangerfield quotes which are very, very funny and I really must find a video of him soon. I want to thank you again for that wonderful gift and the only way I can express my thanks is through poetry.
I now have a baseball bat with my name on
I shall hit big Ed with it if he doesn’t wear his thong
Thank again mate and please one-day come and sail so I can repay you in kind. Please also keep the poems coming they really are brilliant. Cheers.
THE BEARS, CARL AND BARB – I have indeed passed your kind regards to Butch who is the acting Cruise Director on the Carnival Conquest. He is very proud to be from Minnesota and one day I hope to return and have more food on a stick. How is Carter doing, Barb?………….Please let us know. Hope you are slowly getting your energy back and as always we are hoping that you feel better each and every day. Please write soon and continuing best wishes to you and the entire family.
CRUISINEAGLE – Thanks for the information on the Green Bay Packers. I must admit this Brett guy sounds amazing. I have to say though that the name “Packers” is not …………ummmmmmmmm…………….well, very exciting ……….why is the team called the Packers? The reason I support the Cowboys is I have a hat…………that’s it…………. and I could easily change my elegance if I had a Packers hat! Cheers.
LFTTNSFCF – Now you see I new this was going to happen. Once again I have a Red Sox hat but if a Yankee hat came along I would be their biggest fan…………….yep…………..I can easily be bribed.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – The name of Alan’s doctor is Dr. Ben Dover …………….let’s keep him laughing mate. There will be lots of photos of my daily intake of food and Mum’s and Heidi’s cooking ………….plus of course some fish and chips………without the chips for me though as I will be carb-free for sometime to come. That is quite a story from your early cruising days on the France and I especially liked the reference to you sneaking into first class to watch the entertainment. I am surprised that you don’t remember the food though. Hey, have you ever had Black Pudding? So, write soon and we can continue our gastro journey of the world. Cheers mate.
ALAN AND CHRIS – You will be happy to know that I remain a staunch Red Sox fan until my Yankee hat arrives……..kidding. So, who is my favorite player in case anyone asks me? Thanks for sending the hats, you really are so very kind and I hope the final is between the Red Sox and The Yankees then I can wear both hats. All the best and many thanks to you both for your support of the blog thingy.
BIG ED – thanks mate, you really are a true friend.
KEVIN – Now I am worried. Why does everyone hate the Red Sox so much? I need to know this as I don’t want to wear my hat and get beaten up ………..I get enough of that watching a football match back home. Kevin, when are you sailing next, I really need your date and cabin number mate. Now, as for you keeping an eye on Big Ed I think we need to find you a disguise ……..maybe you could pretend to be his long lost cousin from New York ……….Yankee Ed………or from the south…….hi’yall Ed……….or from the Canada Big A Ed……….. or from the UK…Top Of The Morning Ed……….or from France……..Big Ed le Pong. What do you think?
HARRY AND PHILIPPA REED – I am sorry that I was the second piece of bad news you had after Wrexham lost to Chesterfield…………was that really a surprise though? Anyway, you will be happy to know that Southend are playing well and will no doubt be back where they belong in the Championship soon……………my apologies to everyone as we chat about football here (soccer) and in particular Wrexham who are the Red Sox of world soccer. Thanks for thinking of my mate Alan and I know he will appreciate so very much your kind words. Please can you send me your cabin number so I may send you an invitation for our cocktail reception on the 28th at 5:15pm. Once again my apologies for not being with you and congratulations to Chesterfield 🙂
GREG BALDASSARI – Thanks Greg for your usual round of applause for Roberto, I really appreciate it when people remember his hard work and endeavor. You really should read his resume, talk about over qualified. I think he has an amazing future ahead of him and hopefully the people at Carnival will see this and allow him to grow with us…………he is a real talent. Thanks also mate for your kind words for Alan which I know he will appreciate very much as of course do I. My spell checker has gone and will soon be found wandering the isles at Publix checking the tins of soup has the correct price on them. Cheers mate.
HOTSTAR FROM CRUISE CRITIC – I realized I had written Hot Star in stead of Host Star but thought Hot sounded more ………..well ……………..Hot …………….so I kept it in. Thanks for the wonderful wishes for Alan and I hope your CC group is excited to cruise. Cheers.
LYNN AND MIKE SAGARA – What a wonderful posting which included so many kind words. I agree that the comment card needs rethinking and I do believe that come December a new format will be introduced fleetwide. Sometimes, writing a letter does help especially if you have a specific suggestion and just as importantly if you want to write a letter of praise for one of the brilliant crew you met during your vacation. Each comment card is read by the management and action taken was necessary to improve an area as highlighted by guests and to reward a crewmember who has exceeded your cruising expectations. Now, on to the blog. I agree that indeed it has gone well beyond the parameters I was given when first asked to write and I am sure the changes will continue as the blog thingy changes day to day. I am not ready to give it up and I see you are still enjoying it……..that’s good enough for me. Many thanks for this uplifting posting and Heidi and I send our kindest regards to you all.
SEAN – Thank you Sean. It has made me wonder what my mysterious grammar and spelling professor does in his/her normal every day life? Do they wander around a shopping mall looking for adverts that may be spelt wrong ………I actually am glad that they found the mistakes they did it was just the way they presented it to me………..oh well. Thanks again for your posting Sean and we will continue to provide as much fun as we can onboard so you don’t have to provide your own by correcting the Capers. Cheers.
READY TO GO AGAIN – Thanks Jean for a wonderful and rejuvenating posting. I was angry at myself for saying Adriatic instead of Aegean and then I was indeed upset that the guest found it necessary to be so…………well you know. Anyway, your posting has helped realize that in every day life we all make mistakes and I made quite a few last cruise. Thanks you so much again for the words of inspiration and I shall indeed carry on regardless. Heidi and I send you our best regards.
SHELLYP – hello Shelly and thanks for bio on Upstate New York. It sounds like a place that I would really enjoy. I hope this blog finds you well and maybe one day you can show me around where you are from especially those beautiful lake areas. Heidi and I wish you all the best and please write soon.
MYRA BUSHNELL – I am sure you are still feeling the loss of your beloved family dog but I notice that you are seeing a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you can find someone to look after your pets when you cruise in January and maybe Mum can come as well. I hope Alan will join us all even if I have to care for him 24 hours……..Big Ed can give him a blanket bath. Anyway, we send our best to Mum and of course to you as well, keep smiling and enjoy the memories of your faithful friend.

We now move on to the blog called “A Special Interview”

ELIZABETH AND ARNOLD TUCKER – OK, I did indeed add my name to Mr. Foschi’s table because of the wonderful company he choose to dine with ……………….OK, I am not fooling anyone am I…………yep, you are right …………..it was for the food. White Bait are small fishes found in the cold waters of the North Sea and are very, very tasty indeed. My Dad loves them but like so many types of seafood they don’t agree with my Dad and you can often find Mum chasing him with the air freshener. Anyway, I do love Italian food but I am anxious for a good old British roast dinner followed by lashings of Spotted Dick. Thanks for the posting and I am glad you enjoyed the interview with Mr.Foschi; he is a wonder asset to the Corporation and to the cruise industry.
DWA 76 – I agree with you mate that the penne in vodka sauce sounds very tempting. Then again, I have not tasted vodka in many years so I am not sure how it tastes. Thank you for your praise of Costa Cruises. We are very proud to be associated with this exuberant company and much of its success is down to the man whose interview you enjoyed reading so much. Thanks mate and I too am looking forward to maybe one day cruising into Dubai.
BIG ED – I agree mate. Once I am home I will open a PO Box so that you can all send e-mail directly. Great minds think alike and wear thongs.
BILL – ZYDECOCRUISER – Ye mate, small world indeed. You mentioned the Carnival Splendor being of the same build as a Costa ship which is the Concordia. I still hope to be in port with her before the end of the season so I can pre arrange a visit…….and yes, report on the food. Cheers mate.
MICHA – Goodness me, there is a voice from the past. How are you mate and many congratulations on your obvious success. Please tell me more about the work that you do, it sounds fascinating. I remember those days well and I was talking to Roger Blum yesterday who also says he has wonderful clear memories of you as well so you obviously made a great impression. Congratulations again and I hope that through this blog thingy we can stay in touch and thanks for taking the time to write. I wish you continuing happiness and success.
TIM LIMBACH – You would be correct sir. In the U.K. we eat it as an appetizer, usually with mustard and served on toast………yummy. Hope this blog finds you well.
MYRON AND CINDY SAWRAS – Timing is everything and the timing of this interview with Mr.Foschi comes as you prepare for your Costa Fortuna cruise. I think you are about to have two very excited young ladies on your hands when they discover they are going down a slide…………..on a cruise ship. Please will you write when you return and let us know your experiences and if the opportunity arises, please pass my best to the Cruise Director. I hope you have been enjoying the blog and my best wishes for a wonderful vacation.

That’s all for today, more tomorrow.

The guests are coming onboard. It is now 2:24 pm and I now have to introduce you to a world record holder……….have a go of this.

From: FREEDOM PURSERS
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2007 1:23 PM
To: FREEDOM CRUISE DIRECTOR; FREEDOM ASSISTANT CRUISE DIRECTOR
Cc: FREEDOM PURSERS; FREEDOM CHIEF PURSER
Subject: ____ – Angry guest wants Gay and Lesbian Meeting
Good Afternoon John

Please be advised that Ms _____ came to the desk and that she was very upset that after reading the Capers for today she sees no meeting or activities for her and her partner who want to meet other people who are gay and lesbian. Guests says that on NCL there are planned meetings and events for them. I apologized and said the comments would be sent to you so please can you call the guest. Please note John that guests was raising her voice very much.

Thank you for your assistance.

Best Regards

Yoshimi

Now, we will get to the substance of the comment in a moment but first, this has to be a record. The comment was made at 1:23 pm, the guest boarded at………………12:50 pm…………….that has to be a record. Anyway, I just called Ms World Record and assured her that we will indeed be having meeting times that will be listed in the Capers every day from tomorrow. Unfortunately the guest was upset that we had activities and ice breakers for single guests in three different age grouping but nothing for gay and lesbian guests which she found discriminating. Anyway, after 10 minutes of conversation about the ports and other things she was laughing and joking and all is no well. Carnival has meetings listed in our Capers on every ship for guests to meet under the title of “Friends of Dorothy” as do most lines as I understand. I have now added this into the first day’s schedule for next cruise and for next season. I will check in on Ms World Record throughout the cruise to make sure she is having a good time.

That was an interesting start.

I was mentioning to Bill – Zydecocruiser that it is a small world. Indeed it is and it got me thinking of a time when it was too small. After disembarking a ship you immediately try and switch off and become the opposite of being a cruise director. For me, the best way to do this is to try and avoid big groups of people and just sit, be quiet, read and watch football………..maybe smoke the odd cigar. A few years ago after delivering the Carnival Triumph, Heidi and I had completed a long contract and were looking forward to vacation. Much against my better judgment she persuaded me to go to Orlando and see the mouse thing. First of all, I hate rides, I hate being turned upside down on a Spiderman rollercoaster, I hate plummeting in an elevator at 100 mph, I hate thousands of kids running around me, I hate paying $3,000 dollars for a diet coke and I hate crowds……….yes, I am the Grouch when it comes to these places. So, day one we went to the Disney thing with the castle thingy in it. It was July, it was 2 billion degrees and I was sweating more than Fatima in a fur coat in the Sahara.

As you can tell, I was not a happy man. To make matters worse everyone in the entire universe had chosen that day to bring their children to the park and everyone of them wanted to use me as a bouncy castle………..I was really grumpy and as kids bounced around me and off me I thought that this must be hell………….We were standing in line for something to do with a mountain in space or something when hell got worse. Now, Disney does lines well, there is no doubt but when you have been standing in line for 1 hour and the sweat is finding cracks you didn’t know you had, they could have resurrected Sinatra himself to entertain us and I still would have been a grumpy old sod. Oh ………and then some cartoon character space man called Baz or Bust or something appears and suddenly one billion kids go crazy and run towards him pushing and stepping on my feet screaming and shouting……….I looked at Heidi and she new……….oh she new.

So, my XXXL shirt is shrinking to medium by the minute thanks to the sweat pouring of me, I now have the Von Trapp family singing some Disney song behind me and Buzz and his throng of fans going crazy when I hear ……….John ……………John……….no, they can’t mean me. I can feel Heidi nudging me and again I hear…………..John…………..John………….I turned around and there, behind Maria and the choir was a family the size of the Brady Bunch waving like they had just seen Mickey Mouse himself.

Hello………..I said

We were on the cruise with you last month said Mr. Brady, what a small world.

Not knowing what to say I made a fatal mistake ……………..did you have a good time Well, we liked some things but we preferred the …………….

And as the line moved slower than a turtle with three legs and a hangover ……….I sweated and Mr. Brady complained

There is a hell and I had found it.

Goodnight

Your Friends

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.